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      (Dis)agreement, polarity, and focus: Answering negative polar questions in Italian

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          Abstract

          Among languages that employ specialized particles for answering polar questions, two major groups are known: Positive-Negative (P-N) and Agreement-Disagreement (A-D). English and Italian are examples of the former group, Japanese an example of the latter. It has occasionally been remarked in the literature that at least in some P-N languages a narrow focus in a negative polar question affects the choice of responding particles: namely, the answering pattern shifts to A-D. In the present contribution, this claim is thoroughly tested experimentally with two forced choice experiments that investigate the choice of responding particles in answers to Italian negative polar questions both with and without narrow foci. Our results bring clear support to the claim of the exceptional answering pattern to negative polar questions with narrow foci. Two candidate accounts are presented, in accord with the two main current lines of research on responding particles: an ellipsis account and an anaphoric account. In both cases, we will argue that a crucial role is played by the interaction of the narrow focus with sentential negation in the questions.

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          Most cited references34

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          A theory of focus interpretation

          Mats Rooth (1992)
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            Relativized minimality

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              On Reacting to Assertions and Polar Questions

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2397-1835
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Ubiquity Press
                2397-1835
                09 January 2018
                2018
                : 3
                : 1
                : 3
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Università di Siena, via Roma 56, 53100 Siena (SI), IT
                [2 ]Université de Geneve, Rue de Candolle 2, 1205 Genève, CH
                Article
                10.5334/gjgl.360
                efc458e0-4c73-4e9f-9ce4-e7a3a5e7d31c
                Copyright: © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                History
                : 27 February 2017
                : 12 August 2017
                Categories
                Research

                General linguistics,Linguistics & Semiotics
                focus,anaphors,ellipsis,responding particles,polar questions

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